The Acts of Mercy
Mercy is kind forbearance shown towards an enemy or an offender. In the novel, “Mercy Among the Children”, by David Adams Richards, the beginning section is called “Mercy”. Throughout the novel, the main character Sydney Henderson lives his life based around mercy. Not only does Sydney experience mercy, but it's portrayed among others throughout the novel. During this essay my altercations will be based on, “Why this section is called Mercy”.
Reason #1: Sydney shows Mercy towards everyone:
Sydney's upbringing caused him to show mercy towards his enemies. At a young age Sydney experienced constant violence and negative public criticism. His father was sent to jail ...view middle of the document...
When Lyle complains about collecting a new box of smelts for Connie, Sydney explains his mercy to his son, “To beg a truth in front of them is unconscionable, because truth gives them a respect they might not deserve.” (49). Sydney knows he receives unfair treatment, but he feels that in the long run those who are forgiving will overcome all.
Reason #2: Community shows no Mercy towards Sydney:
The community has a way of showing mercy to the ones who do not deserve it. After the death of Trenton Pit, the Pit's reputation was liberate. Society gave mercy towards the family, mostly because Trenton was a young, mentally challenged boy, but also they gave mercy towards the family because of the tragic way he came upon his death. Hundreds of people paid their respects to the family, however very few were informed of how Trenton's death actually occurred. One of the visitors assumptions shows how clueless they are towards the truth of Trenton's death, “These good-hearted people needed to be there for this troubled Pit family, to prove that they stood shoulder shoulder in such horrendous loss and that past deeds, mistakes or feelings towards Cynthia and Mat Pit meant little or nothing compared to grace and love.” (121). This quote is an example of contradiction where those who have been excused by the community for their wrong doings from the past, whereas those whom are most innocent receive no mercy at all.
Most of the community believe Sydney is to blame for Trenton's death, and the rumour travels throughout the town and is carried on through the church community by Father Porier, “I have asked god for those who are responsible for this poor child's death to be here today- for the have insulted their
own human dignity. I do not see them in attendance.” (140). Father Porier's statement is pointed at Sydney, however the quote shows irony because Mat, Rudy and Connie are all attendance at the service and are the true culprits responsible for Trenton's death. Without a fair trial, the community is already placing Sydney to blame for the death of Trenton and the theft that took place at Leo McVicer's home. The society puts blame on Sydney because they figure since he is so merciful its easiest to leave him with the responsibility of Trenton's death. Since Trenton's death, people start wanting more power and the Pit's status rises. Elly's sister Edna, whom the Henderson's family has not spoken to in fourteen years, asks Mat for forgiveness on that side of the family. The community becomes fixed as the truth is fooled with to make Sydney look guilty and even the people whom Sydney helped over the years left him with no sympathy. “Those men my father had done favours for, filled out application forms for, helped with employment benefits, forgot him.” (125). The community forgets about Sydney previous acts of kindness and turn all their mercy towards the Pit family, for it is more convenient. Many of the families in the community have a feeling...